The Patient

Doctor, I don’t know what has been happening around for few months, I mean I don’t remember when it happened first time may be it was when I was visiting my long lost friend whom I accidently met in the mall and he invited me to his house, I can’t really say but the funny thing is my friend still pronounces S as Sh , so you can imagine what goes all day when we converse, like, itsh been sho long shince we met, where have you been you? what is it called actually? does it have a name when some people cannot  pronounce the words correctly? I mean seriously I met a guy who pronounced S as F, then one day I asked  him how did his weekend go and he replied that waf great, he said he fwam in the fea and afterwards had his Fuzuki repaired and I laughed fo hard that he hit me in my nofe’

Lisp’

Doctor, where did you study from?’Look Mr.S, I am a very busy man and I gave you this appointment only at Mr. AK’s behest, I have a long line of patients waiting!’

Actually doc, I am your last patient tonight, there is nobody outside. Mr. AK had told me to meet you directly but I, being a good citizen readily accepted the number 133 given me by that sweet receptionist of yours, though I regretted not following AK’s advice when the line had reached 131.’

What is it that ails you?’

DMC, right?’

Yes, the batch of 1985’Oh how unfortunate I was to fail in the entry test to that college doc. After a week of depression and swollen eyes doctor I stopped believing in medical science, I became a patheist’

I don’t know what a patheist is, what brought you here?

It comes from pathology, I stopped believing the disease causing pathogens, they are just figments of doctors’ imagination, which they use to exploit sick credulous people and the fees you charge, I am amazed you don’t have insomnia. Man’s misery must be alleviated free of cost.’

Then how would you explain the causes of disease?’

I am working on it doctor, I have been working doctor, I believe I am this close’

Then why would you see me, I believe our business is done, have a good night!’

No no wait, I am beginning to have doubts about patheism. This has been happening for a few months now. I am beginning to doubt doubt itself. Say Doc, I can be Holmes and you Dr.Watson.’

You can hardly be one of the three stooges!’

Doc a week ago I had a dream and I remember it vividly. I was eating an octopus. It was alive and moving its legs all over the place. I was eating its legs one by one, then I choked. My eyes were filled with tears and I couldn’t see the octopus with two legs missing, I coughed and bits of its leg came out of my mouth but they were brown like goat’s meat.  I couldn’t swallow it and spat more and more. I couldn’t see any more and through the strange fluidity of dreams I found myself standing at the bus-stop where I reach daily to catch the bus. A young man with sparse cactus like beard on a triangular face with broad forehead and a pointed chin came desperately toward me. His crooked teeth were decaying and his gums more blacker than red. He held a page in his hand. I was startled when he reached for my arm and said something I could not comprehend.  The place is not a bus-stop any more; the mysterious transcendence of the dreams took us to a desolate place with sky scrappers all around us and no soul on the road. He pointed towards a man’s face on the page he was holding and asked if I had by any chance seen him. ‘I lost thees man Sir, do you find him’ , he kept saying ‘I lost thees man Sir!’ The face on the page had big black eyes, a melancholic smile, hair parted from the middle, a scar on his cheek. The face resembled a triangle. The man was holding his own picture. ‘I lost thees man Sir, do you find him’. I turned away my face and heard rhythmic sounds of drums far away. I walked towards an alley and a found a door in the corner. Someone was trapped. Who was beating the drums? I tripped over a stone and found myself awake, hearing some hands fisting my bedroom’s door.’

Here is Mrs. F’s card. She has reputation for treating neurotic patients.’

Is she cute?’

She is over fifty’

Don’t be an ageist, Doc! My grandmother is eighty and she is cute. She is beautiful like an old oak tree.  Her smile could melt glaciers. Why did you listen to my dream with such earnest expression on your face?’

If you have an ailment worth my consideration, speak to me. If that is not the case, I have no time to listen to your drug induced hallucinations. Your face tells me how much cocaine you take’

I am not an addict, Doc. I do it when the company enforces its rights. I am a religious man and I give everything its due rights. I have an ailment worthy your respected consideration but there is nothing I say which doesn’t help me explain it to you. My days have more than twenty four hours and I cannot account for them.’

Speak some sense’

Doc! For God’s sake lose your white coat and steth for a while and look at a real patient when you have one. Here you want an ailment? Give me that scalpel, here is a…………lon.g….lo…….ng. gash. Treat it’

Hey what are you doing, you lunatic, look what you have done, there is blood all over the place.’

No no Doc no,  I only satisfied your obsession with wounds and ailments. You are like people. They love things they can touch and see like your wounds and ailments. I tell you when unbelief in pathogens is as common as unbelief in God, people will denounce you. That will be stone age yet again, Doc. But is this age of ours any better when in man’s chest lies a red stone?’

Idiocy is widespread. I will cover this gash and you will vanish yourself as soon as I am done.’

Man my arm looks so ugly. Ah the colours it has seen, man’s heart! What colour is reason? What colour is faith? What colour is spirit? What colour is matter? The painter has painted too many layers over it. You know there are doctors who think it doesn’t beat anymore but they have devised ways of keeping man alive with static hearts and there is no difference at all. The man is as real as a real man. Doc I am in reveries most of the time. Yes induced but it doesn’t matter. Transcendence, the supreme wish of man is subjective. Saints are not its exclusive claimants nor are poets or artists.  Yesterday when in such a state, I saw myself dragging a man towards a pit in the ground. The man’s face was covered with a black cloth. His hands and feet were tied with chains. He was writhing like an animal whose throat has been half-cut. I pulled him with a rope around his neck. I was very curious to have a look at his face.  At the edge of the pit I stopped. Against the instructions I uncovered his face and Lo! a dirty ragged face with blood in the mouth. My mother’s only son. Doc I was dragging myself. I remembered my dream about the man with a triangular face looking for himself.’

We are almost done’

I went to the sea and couldn’t drown myself. I burned my house down, the fire didn’t catch me. I went to the jungle and the lion didn’t eat me. When God ordered the fire ‘Be thou cool..!’ on Ibrahim and ordered the waters to part away for Moses, that were rewards for those men of great stature but see how rewards become punishments for different people. Have you ever been to a fashion show where gorgeous ladies and handsome men walk on the ramp wearing generally absurd and rarely beautiful clothes? Well last month Doc, my friend asked me to wear some nice clothes he has designed and walk on the ramp. I am sure you have no doubt about my good looks. Imagine Doc if every patient you see here looked exactly like you, how would you feel? When I went out on the ramp there was only me. I walked. I watched. I applauded. I filmed. I captured. There were two hundred I’s. Just imagine Doc. It was under the effect I know. But if illusion is reality, isn’t reality illusion. Imagine yourself walking and two hundred yous looking at you. Its you all over the place. Its I all over the place. Your son is you, your wife is you, your mother is you, you came out from your own womb. your father is you. Man is a single-cell organism. This is my ailm….’

We are done, get out’

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Monologue

I surrender to you. This is a strange surrender though; as stark enemies surrender to each other. I’ve surrendered as you and I have been fighting. You in your greatness already know the condition of my heart. (Is there anything you don’t know? People take your foreknowledge for predestination!). I believe it strongly that you are my creator, for what did you create me for? I get the answer from your word: ‘to worship’. You give me food and shelter, you give me clothes to wear, you give me sense to see and reason, but lately unfortunately I’ve replaced you my Khuda with my Khud. Khuda and Khud. Khud and Khuda, as any line thinner than one between these two? Isn’t it the subtle form of act most loathes by you? The blood which runs the course of my body which has left you. It is like the river has flooded into a population. You in your power already know: my most keen observation comes from the act of repentance. I do something wrong, I regret it afterwards but I consider myself unworthy of your forgiveness because I think the wrong as very evil in my eyes. Its not your forgiveness that matters to me, I regretfully say, but my own. Khud’s. It is I who I want satisfy by sinning and afterwards by repenting. Even the repentance is for myself, nothing done by my hands is for you. I prostrate before a mirror. The mirror is the new Laat, the self is the new Uzza. But a thought comes to me. Not an original one though. I read it in a novel:

“…..that religion bred selfishness; because religion overemphasized the importance of individual spirit; religion preached nothing but a single concern: salvation of one’s own soul..”

You in your greatness know better but I seem to overemphasize my own soul too much.

The problem is absence of fear. I do not fear you. In the corner of my eye is always a hope. Haven’t you willed ‘the Law of Mercy unto yourself ‘, to quote your words? I go on therefore in my arrogance. Why I don’t I fear you, you who are all powerful and you who has a swa over everything breathing or not. I wish I could ask you to show me your fear but at this instant while writing this sentence I fear, lest you vanish me from the plane of existence. ‘Kun’ and I would be thin air.

You say in your book, exactly in 16:2 : “Warn them that there is not deity except me; do fear me”

By not fearing you, I am not paying heed to the warning, why don’t I fear you? And you will ask those who feared you in 16:30 : “ And it will be said to those who fear Allah, ‘What did your Lord send down?’ They will say ‘That which is good’. Ask me please. What will I say? Why don’t I fear you?

And you say again in 16:51: “And Allah has said.’ Do not take for yourself two deities. He is but one God, so fear only Me’” I do not fear you and again you ask : “Then is it other than Allah that you fear?”

No I don’t. If I fear anything I am not consciously aware of it. I fear eternal doom, I fear disgrace in men’s eyes, I fear lest the mirror breaks. I fear I know not what else but Do I fear you? You are so truthful when you say: “Indeed Allah is with those who fear Him and those who are doers of good”

Why don’t I fear you?

Ghazali says when a person fears something, he runs away from it, but when a person fears God he runs towards Him. The crux of my monologue comes to what you have said in 35:28:

“Only those fear Allah among His servants, who have knowledge”

Since I do not fear you, it follows that I lack knowledge or that I am not your servant or both. To prove that I am your servant, I must prove that I serve you. To serve is to obey. I do not obey you therefore I do not serve you and I am not your servant and I do not serve you because I don’t fear you. Now this has turned into a circle. Bottomline is I do not fear you because I have no knowledge. What is this knowledge you speak of? Ghazali says:

“the person who is deficient in fear is he who tends towards effeminate softness which alights on his mind whenever he hears a verse from Quran, and produces weeping, and the tears overflow and similarly when he sees a cause of terror. And when that cause is absent from his attention, his heart returns to negligence. So this is a fear which is deficient, of little profit and feeble in utility; just like the slight stick with which powerful riding beast is beaten, which gives it no serious pain and does not urge it on to the destination, as is it salutary for correction”

Ghazali tells me that you have united in those who fear

  1. Guidance and Mercy

  2. Knowledge

  3. Satisfaction

and he quotes three symbols of your revelation:

  1. 7:154 for Guidance & Mercy

  2. 35:28 for Knowledge

  3. 98:8 for Satisfaction

and yet I am not fearful of you. Why don’t the hair on my back stand up when I hear your name? Why doesn’t my blood freeze in your awe? Why doesn’t my heart tremble with your fear, what do I do?

Days are going by. Years are crawling. Decades have gone. The heart keeps shivering. When will it beat?

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